Sharon Stinson's complaint resulted in a charge over Watkins' comments during a divorce hearing. According to the complaint, Stinson complained about several of Watkins' statements, including a discussion of her child's father, who was also in the courtroom.
The judge said, "She picked him to have a child with." Stinson responded that it "was an accident," and Watkins replied, "Well, honey. It ain't an accident. You don't get 'em off of toilet seats. OK."
The third count filed against Watkins alleges he again violated judicial ethics rules during a divorce hearing over Robert Ray Harper Sr.'s child support payments.
Harper, who had a pending malpractice lawsuit against the Cleveland Clinic, had been ordered to pay child support but apparently hadn't, according to the complaint.
Despite Harper having a prosthetic leg, heart disease, bleeding ulcers, high blood pressure, scoliosis, arthritis and bursitis, Watkins cited him for contempt and put him in jail, where he contracted tuberculosis, according to the complaint.
Another count in the complaint against Watkins deals with a woman who appeared before him during a domestic violence hearing on Aug. 25, 2011.
During the hearing, according to the complaint, Watkins asked the woman, "Then, why are you shooting off your fat mouth about what happened?
"Shut up! You stupid woman. Can't even act properly. One more word out of you that you aren't asked a question you're out of here and you will be found in direct contempt of court and I will fine you appropriately. So, shut your mouth," Watkins said, according to the complaint.
The final charge arose after Mark Halburn, operator of the website Putnamlive.com, filed a complaint against Watkins. Halburn said the judge failed to recuse himself from Halburn's divorce case despite having represented his wife in another matter. According to the complaint, Halburn said that after he brought the conflict of interest to Watkins' attention, the judge responded in a Dec. 15, 2011, letter.
"Every other witness describes you as rude, obnoxious, loud, unprofessional and generally acting like the south end of a north-bound horse. I chose to believe them," Watkins wrote, according to the charges.
Ketchum wrote in Tuesday's order that the court recognizes judges are human and can get angry or annoyed, "But a judge owes a duty to treat lawyers and litigants courteously, to hear them patiently, to study their arguments and evidence conscientiously, and to decide their cases promptly.
"The excuse by Judge Watkins that he likes to 'use earthy language at times to make a point' with certain litigants does not excuse his use of profanity and threats, but rather demonstrates his lack of impartiality," the order states.
"A pattern of judicial discourtesy like that exhibited by Judge Watkins represents a profound threat to the integrity of the judiciary, and consequently demands a strong response."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.